Over forty years of gorgeous scents. That’s how long Crabtree & Evelyn has been fragrancing our lives, evolving from a small, family-run business specialising in the finest soaps (founded by Cyrus Harvey) to an international company now with over 500 inviting boutiques.
Today, botanically-inspired products abound – but in 1972, Crabtree & Evelyn were pioneers of the natural and wellness movement, introducing products created from fruit, plant and flower essences, to delight the senses. (Because doesn’t everything from Crabtree & Evelyn always look as beautiful as it smells?)
The inspiration? A visionary 17th Century Englishman, John Evelyn, who was one of the first naturalists and conservationists. He travelled Europe, bringing back tales and specimens to share with his friends in British society, keeping journals which paint an insightful picture of 17th Century life in England and on the Continent. His personal motto – ‘Explore everything. Keep the best.’ – has provided the watchwords for everything Crabtree & Evelyn creates, since the moment it was founded right through to today. (And if you’ve ever wondered about the other element of the name? The Crab Apple Tree, Pyrus malus, is native to Britain and the ancestor of all cultivated apple trees. What better to conjure up the bounty of nature…?)
Crabtree & Evelyn also always looked to the ‘still room’, or home apothecary, for inspiration. Still rooms existed at a time when the garden played a vital role in daily life; when fresh flowers, fruits, herbs and fruits were distilled, to create fragrant waters for the bath, and nature’s bounty was preserved to ensure supplies of delicious food, year-round. As Crabtree & Evelyn so prettily put it, ‘From the magic of the still room came the little luxuries and necessities that enhanced the quality of everyday life’. (And as far as we’re concerned, those ‘small pleasures’ – even something as simple as a fresh bar of fragrant soap – are still hugely cheering!)
In the Crabtree & Evelyn fragrance collections, you’ll find familiar and much-loved scents. First, the ‘single note’ creations like Wisteria, Iris, Rosewater, Lavender and the fabulous Lily (which is truly a posy of lily of the valley, in a bottle; indeed, because we love it so much, a delightful Hand Cream in the range features in The Perfume Society‘s ‘Fragrance Education Discovery Box’, a joining gift to subscribers).
There’s sophisticated Evelyn Rose, based on a classic English rose of that name. And in fabulous ‘decanter-style’ bottles, explore Crabtree & Evelyn’s ‘floral waters’, prepared in an artisan, traditional way: Old World Jasmine , Venetian Flower, Florentine Freesia. As award-winning blogger The Perfumed Candy Boy raved in a review, ‘they’re light and bubbly interpretations of classic bouquets, harking back to the dainty florals of yesteryear’.
In that Heritage Cologne Collection, too – launched to celebrate 40 years of Crabtree & Evelyn – you’ll find a quartet of spirit-lifting eaux de Colognes (which are pictured above): so-classic Old Windsor, Sevillian Neroli (which sparkles with grapefruit, lemon, tangerine alongside Spanish neroli), Hungary Water – based on a recipe for 14th Century tonic – and Neapolitan Bergamot, bright with that classic Italian citrus ingredient. This whole collection was born from four decades of expertise in ‘fragrance foraging’, drawing on knowledge of where to source the most beautifully-scented botanicals.
But something else has had serious perfumistas excited, lately: Night Garden Collection. This quartet of rich, sophisticated and beautifully-presented eaux de parfum is complex and intriguing – catapulting Crabtree & Evelyn into a new, luxurious realm.
Discover velvety Ottoman Rose, a rich Oriental with a smoky base, or sensual Kashmir Musk, billowing with powdery notes, soft musks and dreamy woods. Assam Oud is a spin on the cornerstone of Middle Eastern perfume-making, balanced by citrus notes and softened by crystallised sugar, in its heart. And Persian Thé pairs a Lapsang Souchong smokiness with spices, promising a warm finale hinting at leather and incense.
So: in the footsteps of John Evelyn, Crabtree & Evelyn‘s perfumers are still exploring everything – and keeping the best. And now, can we suggest you do a little exploring of your own…?
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